The holiday season officially kicked off yesterday at Universal Orlando Resort, with yuletide cheer spread all over both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. I was there yesterday to check out all Universal Orlando has to offer for the holidays, so let’s jingle jangle and dive in!
Christmas at Universal Studios Florida
We’ll begin with a look at the fabulous Christmas decorations that can be found mainly in the New York and Hollywood sections of the park. In New York, the decorations fit perfectly with the vibe of the Macy’s Holiday Parade, harkening back to movies such as Miracle on 34th Street. New York also features the ever-popular Holiday Tribute Store, which you can take a complete look at here.
The park’s gigantic Christmas tree can be found in New York, which lights up beautifully at night, and occasionally dances along to popular Christmas music, such as Kelly Clarkson’s “Underneath the Tree.”
Even Marilyn and the Diamond Bellas get in on the holiday cheer, performing “Santa Baby” in appropriate Marilyn Monroe fashion.
Over on Hollywood Blvd, the decorations take on an appropriately classic Hollywood feel.
The London waterfront and Diagon Alley also get a full decoration package for the season.
Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s
For many, the highlight of every holiday season at Universal Orlando is Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s. Making use of giant balloons straight out of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, this lengthy parade features characters from Despicable Me, Madagascar, Shrek, and of course, Santa Claus himself!
Check out our complete video of the parade below, including the tree lighting moment that happens as Santa’s float passes by:
I think one of the most festive areas is Seuss Landing over at Islands of Adventure, which is decorated from head to toe for Grinchmas, of course featuring that loveable curmudgeon, the Grinch! The arrival of Grinchmas is immediately apparent as soon as you enter Seuss Landing.
Guests have a chance to meet with the maven of mischief himself for a photo opportunity inside Honk Honkers. This year, the meet and greet is making use of a Virtual Line experience, so be sure to sign up on the Universal Orlando app.
You’ll even find the Whos from Who-ville roaming around and simply having a blast!
The highlight of Grinchmas is undoubtedly the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, a 30 minute long stage adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, featuring the musical stylings of Mannheim Steamroller. The show actually takes place in the former Blue Man Group Theater, so guests have to make a trek backstage between the parks to access the show.
Check out a complete performance of the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular:
The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle
As with Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade is also decorated beautifully for the season, looking truly stunning at night falls.
The main part of the festivities is the nightly show, The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle. The show starts off with spirited ghosts singing old-fashioned Christmas carols, before going through all of the iconic Christmas moments from the Harry Potter films. This really is an impressive use of the projection mapping technology that has become commonplace at Universal and Disney parks.
Check out a complete performance of The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle:
Holidays at Universal Orlando runs daily through January 1st, 2023!